A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 217 sun, and at the wide expanse looming blue in the twilight beyond the woods. uw.. .You are a military man. tell me, is it right? For over a year now we've been fighting fascism single-hand- ed. What do you think of that? But where are our allies, and the second front? Now you just picture it to your- self: Robbers attack a man who, suspecting nothing, was labouring in the sweat of his brow. But this man doesn't lose his head. He goes for those robbers and fights them. He is bleeding all over, but he keeps on fighting with whatever weapon he can lay his hands on. One against many; they are armed, and had been lying in wait for him a long time. Yes. And the man's neighbours see this fight. They stand at their doors and sympathise with the man, encourage him and say: 'Good for you, boy! Give it to *em! Give it to 'em hot!' And instead of going to his assistance they offer him sticks and stones and say: 'Here you are! Hit 'em with this! Hit 'em hard!' But they keep out of the fight themselves. Yes. That's how our allies are behaving!... Passengers, that's all they are...." Meresyev turned round and looked at the old man with interest. Many other passengers in the crowded car were looking in their direction, and from all sides came exclamations: "Yes, he is right! We're fighting single-handed! Where's the second front?" "Never mind! We'll buckle in and beat the enemy ourselves. They'll, no doubt, come along with their second front when it's all over!" The train made a short stop. Several wounded men in pyjamas, some on crutches and others with walking- sticks, and all carrying paper bags with sunflower seeds or berries, got into the car. They must have come from some sanatorium to the market at this place. The old man in the pince-nez at once jumped up and almost forc- ibly pushed a red-haired lad on crutches, with a ban- daged leg, into his seat. "Sit here, my boy, sit here!" he cried. "Don't worry about me. I'll be getting off soon." To prove that he meant it, the old man picked up his gardening tools and made for the door. The milk women squeezed up to make room for the wounded men.